How to Support Teachers Looking for a Career Outside of the Classroom, and How Tutoring Can Help, with Founder of did teach, Katie Stickley: Podcast Transcript

Ludo Millar
Hello, and welcome to the Qualified Tutor Podcast, the podcast that brings you the latest in the world of tutoring EdTech and education and hopefully inspires in us a big change that each and every one of us is capable of.

Qualified Tutor is an industry-leading tutor training organisation and an online tutoring community for 1000s of tutors around the world. This podcast is the voice of this community, where we aim to hear from tutors, teachers, entrepreneurs, coaches, business experts, students, tutor printers, and more from the world of tutoring about what inspires them every day, how they can help tutors like you and what they’ve learned about tutoring along the way.

The question is, what will you learn today?

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Ludo Millar 1:19
So hello, and welcome to the next episode of the Qualified Tutor Podcast. I believe we’re at around I think it’s episode 98 that we’re on. So we’re getting very, very close to the big number to the big centenary. So a huge welcome here to Katie Stickley, who I am delighted to be bringing to this podcast. Katie, as many of you may have got to know Katie, over the last couple of years or so. Katie is the founder of did teach, and also a co founder of a platform called T.I.M.E, which I’ll be briefly talking about in just a second. And really, Katie, having previously worked for many years in the education sector set up did teach, which is a pretty multifaceted site that helps teachers and educators of all kinds, diversify their income and improve their professional development, or really discover new career pathways. And I’m right in saying Katie as of 2022, the platform has grown to somewhere near 8000 members, is that right?

Katie Stickley
10,000

Ludo Millar
That’s right [LAUGHS], I knew that number was going to be outdated, and 10,000 members. Wow, that’s amazing. So that’s did teach. That’s the main focus of today’s conversation. And alongside Baasit Siddiqui, as I just mentioned, Katie has also set up T.I.M.E, so that’s two areas of what Katy does professionally, and T.I.M.E provides online courses and workshops for teachers, for parents, for students, kind of really empowering each one of those classes to grow their education skills, to grow their practice. So today, we’ll be talking mainly about did teach, which helps teachers find new career pathways. And finally, did teach, as you may have seen, if you attended the Festival last week, did teach were also a general partner of the Love Tutoring Festival 2. So really delighted to have Katie and her team as part of the Festival. And really, I feel a little sense of nostalgia, that the Festival has ended. And, you know, there’s no more Festival events to be taking place. But that’s enough for me, Katie, welcome to the podcast. Thank you so much for joining us.

Katie Stickley 4:29
Thank you, Ludo. Thanks for that lovely introduction as well. That’s great. Just encapsulating me in a little bubble.

Ludo Millar 4:36
How much of the Festival were you able to catch? Were there some events that you were able to drop into?

Katie Stickley 4:42
Yeah, absolutely. I managed a whole day on Tuesday. And then I dropped in and out of things throughout the week, and managed to talk to a few of the panelists as well, which was really nice to get their opinion and honestly, they were buzzing about the Festival and that says a lot I think about what you’ve created there. So yeah, well done. See you guys.

Ludo Millar 5:01
Yeah, you should have caught me on Friday afternoon. I was absolutely flying through the roof as well Katie! It’s such an atmosphere of engagement and atmosphere of kind of, we’ve created something here, not just amongst ourselves. But hopefully the Festival feels like every participant is able to feel that they’ve, you know, been part of something and have used the Festival to improve some part of their own tutoring as well their own education. So those are the aims. Those are the objectives. That’s some participants felt that way. But no great, great to see that you’re able to kind of attend some of the Tuesday that was a really, really great day. And just for those listening, you can catch all of those recordings, either through signing up to the Festival now you can get all of those recordings on demand, or the Love Tutoring Library will be a space in which all Love Tutoring Festival events from the first Festival, from this festival will be uploaded and accessible for free. So that’s just a little plug about where you can find the recordings from this Festival. But, Katie, our first question today is one that listeners will have heard many, many times. What, Katie, is your WHY as an educator?

Katie Stickley 6:17
Yeah, well, actually. My why as an educator is about just helping people. The more I do it, the more I run the business, different businesses, even in teaching and the lunchtimes that I gave up in the after schools that gave up, it was all just about helping people and supporting people when they need it. And I think that’s, that’s a real driving force to me. And I never really saw that in the business when I first set it up, that that was part of it. But actually, the need to help teachers is definitely there. And it’s completely free to join our platform. So we don’t charge them. I offer free advice. Sometimes I talk to teachers for sort of 45 minutes or so getting to know them and understanding their career journey. But I think that’s that’s the driving force for me with in education didn’t start with that’s why I went into teaching. Just this idea about wanting to help.

Ludo Millar 7:12
Yeah so, how does did teach support that vision?

Katie Stickley 7:19
Yeah, well, I think when we started the business, I say ‘we’, my husband is also a teacher as well. So we sort of did it together. And then I launched it when I was on maternity leave. And I think to start with, we had the wrong angle. The right angle in wanting to help teachers, but the wrong angle in how we were trying to help teachers, which was a bit more of a recruitment agency-style just didn’t work at all. And I felt like I was letting people down. And it was really frustrating. I had these amazing teachers on my database, with these great CVs that we’d rewritten. And companies weren’t interested in them, because they were tied up with a recruitment agency. So when we pivoted to the job board it we sort of removed that pressure. So if you’re a teacher, and you’re in the right place at the right time, and it’s the right career, and you value that company, then you can just apply and you don’t need to get us involved at all, which is really nice. So it’s just about being as transparent as possible. And always using the company logos, direct links to the websites, and just getting teachers straight to the jobs where companies value them. We only put jobs up where I’ve spoken to the company, and they’ve said that they actually do want to teach you for that role. But teachers shouldn’t limit themselves to that, because literally, they can go anywhere. It’s just meant to be a sort of easier fix for those who still are passionate about education and work in companies that make a difference.

Ludo Millar 8:41
Yeah okay. So to give a little context to listeners, what kind of companies are advertising their roles on the did teach platform?

Katie Stickley 8:51
Yeah. So when we started, we had a lot of edtech startups on our board that have grown quite rapidly companies like unit frog. And we’ve also had education assessment platforms. So GL assessment, yellow education, advertise with us, the Education Endowment Foundation, and a few of the bigger charities. So it’s really is anything any company that really works within the education field, but also companies that just work with children and young people that really do value those teachers skill sets and that experience that they’ve had communicating with, with children with parents with schools? So yeah, that’s that’s mainly the companies that work with us.

Ludo Millar 9:38
Okay, so that gives a little flavour as to what kind of roles you can find on that and now my next question that was kind of forming in my head, the next bit that I wanted to know is perhaps a tricky question, Katie. But why should a teacher or ex-teacher looking for a new career path, why should they come to did teach? What does did teach provide them that they might not find out elsewhere? 

Katie Stickley 10:05
Yeah, well, I think we are definitely the only UK platform that is advertising jobs in the education sector for teachers. So that’s one of the reasons but also the fact that it’s set up by teachers, I think it’s really important as well. So we do understand teachers’ skill sets, we do run career transition workshops for those teachers who are really struggling, and they just don’t know where to go and what direction to go in. And I think, because I understand what they mean when they say Head of Year 5, or that they’re responsible for a particular key stage. I know what those skills are, and I know how hard they’ve worked. And so therefore, I can articulate a bit better this their skills, and that’s actually really nice moments, I think, within the Teach, when you get to sort of get you asked the teacher to unpick basically what they’ve done throughout their career and what they’re proud of. And I think we don’t spend any time doing that, as teachers, we’re just moving on for the next year, the next cohort of children, so actually asking them to sit and reflect on those key moments, and then following that thread with them and say, Okay, well, what happened next to that student that you mentored? Where did they go? They’ve gone onto university, are they still studying? You know, what happened to that teacher that you mentored as well, really nice moments with that where teachers just reflect? So I think, I think that’s the importance of did teach that we we know, teachers, we are teachers, and we only post jobs, like I said, with companies that are really making a difference within the UK.

Ludo Millar 11:41
I’m dying to know, what does an ex-Head of Year 5, what do they know? What job can they go into?

Katie Stickley 11:50
Yeah, I mean [LAUGHS], that’s the thing is that if you break down what a Head of Year 5 is, then you need to know like, how many people were they in charge of? And who did they liaise with? What special events did they create for that year group that, you know, those magic moments that you remember, when you were at school? You know, what impact did that have? Did they liaise with outside agencies? Did they have the parents come in and see, you know, what assemblies? Did they do? What topics? Did they research? How did they help the kids that were failing with disadvantaged students that kids with language barriers? How did they solve sort of racial literacy problems? I mean, it’s kind of huge. So what jobs do they go into? I mean, everything and anything to be honest, but it’s some, I think, definitely project management type roles are really suitable for anyone who’s been in that had that sort of experience. And we do find a lot of teachers, they don’t say, necessarily in education, but actually taking those skills that they’ve learned those soft skills as communication skills that are really, really important for businesses to communicate that message. So we always say, doesn’t matter where you go, but you really do need to look at the company and think, Is this the right fit for me? Do I value this company and what they stand for? And then, just go for that role.

Ludo Millar 13:07
Yeah. So is there a large proportion of the teachers, that 10,000 members you’ve got, using or have used the sites who find tutoring roles? I mean, how can tutoring support those leaving the classroom? 

Katie Stickley 13:25
Yeah, I think tutoring is really important, because it’s people’s passions, isn’t it? A lot of us we go into education, because we want to help make a difference. But actually, the other side of that coin is loving your subject. Loving what you’ve trained in so much that you just want to do it day in and day out. 

Ludo Millar 13:43
And that’s what tutors do.

Katie Stickley 13:44
Yeah, absolutely. And no, you know, hardly any other professions offer that, you know, a chance to really get, you know, immerse yourself in your subject and your specialism. So I think tutoring is a really important skill. Whether you tutor and teach at the same time, I think you learn a lot from tutoring that you can bring back to the classroom, and obviously things in the classroom you can take to your tutoring. So it’s a really good pairing, I think. And then eventually, in a circumstances change for people. I mean, I’ve had all sorts of teachers come on my database for all sorts of reasons. Not one of them is because they hate education. And they, they don’t like their subjects anymore. It’s not to do with that, it’s to do with your background and circumstance, that might mean that they have to leave. I was made redundant from teaching. So you know, people have different reasons for leaving the profession. But I think what tutoring allows is that they’ve got that freedom then that they’ve set up a bit of a business something for themselves, that they can nurture and they can grow. And it was really nice listening to the stuff, the content on love tutoring festival, because actually from there, this idea about growing a business and really believing in what you’re doing. So there’s two types of tutors. I think those that just want to nurture the sort of small area that they’ve got and the local community and those that want to, they really believe in that ideology. And they want that to get that message across to lots of students in lots of locations. So I think that tutoring is just a really powerful way to sort of have a bit of freedom, I think within your teaching.

Ludo Millar 15:22
Yeah. And is there on that note, do you find that there is scope for those who are still teaching to be on the platform looking for tutoring roles?

Katie Stickley 15:35
Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s a really good idea to get on the Qualified Tutor Community. I think that’s a really nice place to understand what people are saying what messages they’ve got the the skills that you learn when you’re tutoring, I think really important, there’s interpersonal skills, but also how to manage your time, I think, Sharon from Conexus [Tuition Franchising], she was great the way that she talked about that, you know, really valuing what you’re putting in that you’re the specialists and you know, people should pay you for your time. And appreciating that. I think that was a lovely message to get across. Because I think some people just they just tutor, but actually tutoring is really powerful. It makes a difference to children. They get better grades, because they’ve got tutors. I think that’s important to learn.

Ludo Millar 16:27
Yeah, absolutely. So, just to kind of clarify, and something on the site that there are lots of current teachers on there as well, are there? It’s not just people who have left the profession, is that right?

Katie Stickley 16:40
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, you can understand when we set the business up both teaching, it was a little bit of a scary thing, and a few people have put the phone down on me and being really rude about my business, and I’ve been in tears about it. It’s, it’s really not about stealing teachers from the classroom, it’s about, you’ve offered your time, say, you know, most teachers, I think around 8 to 15 years, we’ve got teachers coming from that, they’ve dedicated their life to helping young people to achieve their best, they should then be supported, if they want to move on or have to move on to something else. So it, it was really nice to be able to get on the job board, ways for tutors, or teachers or to diversify their income. So tutoring is one of those also voluntary work as well, we put those posts up for free. So, you know, again, people can just increase and upskill and learn a bit more about the world around them and take that back into the classroom as well. So yeah, it’s definitely not for people just leaving teaching. It’s for people who are passionate about education and want to find other ways that they can support sort of education sector. Yeah.

Ludo Millar 17:51
So do you find that that happens a lot? I mean, you’ve clearly, Katie, talked to lots of teachers, lots of those people on the platform, do you find that that enables them to take what they’ve learned from one industry back into the classroom? Is there a kind of two-way, knowledge-sharing system here?

Katie Stickley 18:09
Yeah, I think there definitely is. I think, for me that, I guess, the sort of personal experience, I, you know, I’ve been working with people and rewriting their CVs. And I worked with a master career coach, and I’ve learned his expertise as well. When I was helping Year 11 write their CVs, for job applications. The content we were given in school was absolutely dire. It was just dreadful. And the cover letter, ‘Dear sir, madam …’, you know, I’m applying for the role of blah, blah, blah. And, you know, just being able to tip that completely on its head, and really talk to the students about why they’re applying for this job, what they love about the company and eking out their achievements, because actually, everything we’ve done needs to be impact based, you know, so what was the achievement? What was the impact of something that you’ve done, and you’ve created? So for me, that was that was great, bring that back in. And I know other teachers who, especially IT skills, because we don’t get to experiment much with with those. So building websites and taking it back in. There’s General Studies got a bit of a revamp recently, and its Extended Project Qualification. And within that, students can create their own businesses. And so that’s, that’s a really nice, I’ve talked to a couple of teachers who have set up their own businesses, and then they’re a bit being able to advise their groups on, you know exactly what it’s like to set up a website and what do they need to go about? And who do they look for help for? And so yeah, I think it works two ways, for sure. If you’re not too tired.

Ludo Millar 19:47
Which shouldn’t be underestimated, I imagine. I imagine it probably takes those leaving the classroom a little bit more time probably to kind of digest and unpack that exit than perhaps others. They’re professionals. But that’s a really important thread you’ve called on there. And I think things like financial education for kids is something that’s massively grown over the last couple of years as a kind of both as something that just exists, you know, opening that up to people who never have previously thought of that. But also extending that out to training educators in how to do that, because, you know, lots of adults are financially aware, and obviously, some are forced to be and some just are, but, you know, obviously, we don’t really tell our kids, in any country, you know, in the national curriculum about financial education, and in fact, in next week’s podcast with a guy called Mike Michalowicz who’s been on the podcast a couple of times before, we’re gonna be talking a little bit about, yeah, what financial education for kids means.

But what you’re doing is you’ve started that process already. Because you were saying just then that teachers on the platform in the teacher community, they are leaving the classroom and going into business roles. And then they’re able to take that back and kind of come back into the classroom, either as an external speaker or as an online teacher. Is that what’s happening there? Is that the knowledge transfer?

Katie Stickley 21:16
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I think as well, what’s great about teaching is, you’ve got that certificate, once you’ve got that, you can go back into it as well. So we’ve had people that have left for a couple of years, they worked for an edtech company for a bit. And then they’ve gone back into teaching because they wanted to return to their original passion. And I think that’s a really nice thing about teaching as well. But you can dip in and dip out of it, if you want to, you can set up a business you can supply teach at the same time. You know, it’s an amazing profession, actually, that really does support people in lots of ways. I know, a lot of teachers will moan about some of the ways that they’re not supported. But actually, you know, it is there for you throughout your whole life once you’ve got that qualification.

Ludo Millar 22:02
Yeah, so that’s really important, I think stressing that lifelong kind of learning. So, yeah, that’s a really interesting thread to pull on. And hopefully just listening to this, some people will be able to have extended horizons. I think lots of teachers won’t know about these resources and won’t know about this platform. And I think that’s what you’re pointing towards. But just casting our own minds, broadening our own horizons, Katie, we ask this question from time to time on the podcast, I think we first brought it in about a year ago, when we were talking to Mary Myatt, the thought-leader in education, in the classroom and curriculum. If you could wave a magic wand over the educational landscape, Katie, what would we see?

Katie Stickley 22:55
Gosh, so many things, I really sort of rattled my brain with this one, because there’s lots, lots that I would like to see change, I think, from speaking day in and day out to teachers, the biggest thing that needs to change is that work life balance. And I think teachers just have this amazing work ethic. But they work so hard, and so long, and they give up Sundays, and they work evenings. And really, they need to be spending time with their families with their doing their own hobbies and interests. So I think, you know, if there could be a way to get back to that, when I first started teaching about 19 years ago, it wasn’t as demanding. It was great, I was managing my time better. But the demands from the exam boards and the demands from Ofsted, and then from senior leaders, sometimes it’s just too much for certain teachers. And then you lose really good teachers who are passionate about what they’re doing, and passionate about educating young people and have got great experience within the classroom. You’re losing them because they they can’t quite manage that work life balance. They see all their friends going out on a Wednesday evening, and there’s just no way they’re in bed by, you know, help us know if they’ve done their marking. And that’s, it’s just such a shame that they’re burning out and we shouldn’t we shouldn’t allow a profession to burn out. It’s really quite disgusting, to be honest.

Ludo Millar 24:21
Yeah, it’s especially given the work that they’re doing in preparing, you know, the next generations of this country and, you know, around the world of every country. I totally agree, Katie, it’s really, you know, it’s something that I think about very, very often, it’s something you think about probably much more often, it’s something that lots and lots of people were mentioning at the Festival, and we can’t let that slip. We can’t let these conversations just be conversations and not become more than that. And if you’re listening to this, and this is resonating with you, this idea that either you are a teacher who’s been overworked or feel stressed or you’ve just left the profession or you’re just a tutor who understands what teachers are going through and wants to be able to be part of that unburdening and that sharing out, division of student support, then do head to didteach.com. And there really is a lot to discover there. You can find Katie’s contact details there. If you’re already convinced, and you’d like to dive in even further than did teach.com/job-board and then you can dive straight into the job board as well there and at least have a little look around, see if that’s the kind of platform where you’re going to find your next role. And so that’s really, really important that the action is kind of started.

Now, you know, we don’t have to change the world today. But taking those first steps into what a new system of education could look like is crucial. And I think we’ve talked a lot on this podcast, about how the pandemic was a huge opportunity to switch up, give that edge to education. And no one wants to be in that position where, you know, we’re feeling that moment might have passed. So yeah, I think organisations like did teach, Katie, that what you’re doing is incredibly important in spreading that. And if I give you just one more sentence: what’s next for did teach, Katie?

Katie Stickley 26:28
Yeah, well, I think, what next is something that I’ve been trying to do before, but I really do need to put a bit more time and energy into talking to the Department of Education, about supporting us and supporting teachers who are leaving teaching, I think it could be a really good step for us. Because I really do believe that more teachers will go into the profession, more university students will go into the profession, if they knew that they were supported afterwards and companies really did value their skills. And at the moment, we don’t see that until we dress up their CV into something they understand. They just don’t get it. So I think conversations with the Department for Education just sort of saying to them, ‘Look, you could fix this leaking bucket, by not just throwing people into the profession, but actually supporting them’. If they decide that they want to leave afterwards, where do they go? And I think that’s the conversation I would love to have.

Ludo Millar 27:30
Let’s make it happen. Let’s set it up. We had Robin Walker MP deliver a pre-recorded presentation at the Festival. So you know, the DfE are clearly thinking and talking about tutoring. And therefore thinking about how the education system can be different. So obviously lots and lots of conversations to be had in there. So it’s a thank you. Thank you so much for joining us. We’ve come to the end of the 25 minutes, half an hour. It’s been a really inspiring conversation for me. Honestly, I leave each one of these episodes thinking about so many different areas that go down and hopefully that can inspire what we do as a company next and also who we bring onto the podcast next and kind of just building and growing like that. So thank you very much for joining us.

Katie Stickley 28:21
No problem. Thanks. Thanks for having me. It’s been quite nice just to have a natter.

Ludo Millar 28:26
Have a little natter, but the record button’s playing. Yeah as I said at the start the podcast, if you would like that next week’s guest, Mike Michalowicz will be talking about financial education for kids. And off the back of that then kind of non-classic curriculum subjects for kids, what we can do next to educate children. If you’ve got any ideas on that, about how we can bring financial education into the classroom, or why it’s important to to promote non-classic curriculum subjects, head to speakpipe.com/qualifiedtutorpodcast. Wherever you’re listening, go to speakpipe.com/qualifiedtutorpodcast, record a short message thinking about those ideas, unpacking those ideas, and we will play them at the end of next week’s podcast. So anyone is free to do that. And it would be great way to have your voice heard.

I have been Ludo Millar, host of the Qualified Tutor Podcast and Director of the Love Tutoring Festival as well. And we will see you all next time. Thank you very much for listening. It’s a real pleasure to be bringing these wonderful guests to you. So thank you. Thank you, Katie.

Katie Stickley 28:21
Thank you, bye.

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Ludo Millar

Thank you for listening to this episode of the Qualified Tutor Podcast. Whether you’re a regular listener of this podcast, or you’ve just stumbled across it, join the Qualified Tutor Podcast Group within the Qualified Tutor Community. To stay up to date with our latest news offers workshops and of course, simply to meet other tutors like you, whatever your level is as a tutor, our training courses will be the next step in your professional development. Visit qualified tutor.org/training to find out more about our CPD-Accredited and Ofqual-recognised courses: the first of their kind in the tutoring industry.

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